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15,000 Diapers and Counting

15,000 Diapers and Counting | Columbia SC Moms Blog15,000 diapers. 

That’s how many diapers one mom told me she had changed in her lifetime. 15,000!

I polled a few friends and this estimate was certainly the funniest, especially since she added “this is gross.” I’m not sure that mom had done the math, but I believe her claim is closer to the truth than the first mom who answered with only 1,500. 

I thought I’d do some guesstimating myself and see where I ended up. So, here it goes…

How to Figure out the Number of Diapers You’ve Changed in Your Life

Lets Start With a Few Assumptions

One and only child for said mom, with said child potty trained by age two.

(Do not ask any questions. Don’t ask, “When is she having another?” or “What happened?” Do not ask, “That old before the child was potty trained????” And for heaven’s sake, do not ask me, “How did she do it by two?” I do not know. The daycare potty trained my one and only, okay…)

I considered the average number of daily diaper changes being around five.  

I know what you’re thinking. Five?! Yeah, right. It’s way more than that! But, give me a break. I didn’t have him all day long so I didn’t change all his diapers. But, I must also confess … sometimes I waited until they got really heavy. Sometimes I just found myself without a diaper while out (go ahead and give yourself an extra pat on the back right now if that’s never happened to you). I mean, I never forgot the diaper bag. Never. But that didn’t mean it had a diaper left in it.

The Equation

1 (child) x 5 (diapers a day) x 400 (days in a year) x 2 (years)

I see you questioning me again. Ummm … aren’t there only 365 days in a year? Well, I feel there are more days in that first year of life than 365! You ask any new mom out there with a one month old how many days she’s gone without sleep and she’ll tell you she has no idea. This is why I think a new mom invented that new math, thinking estimating would get you a close enough answer. By the time your child is in school, you’ll be shaking your head at the homework. But trust me on this, 365 is closer to 400 than it is to 300.

So let’s multiply this and see what we get. 

1 x 5 x 400 x 2 = 4,000 diaper changes!

4,000 diapers a year!

Imagine if you had three children. Imagine if you didn’t send them to daycare or grandma ever. What if they weren’t potty trained by 24 months old. If the actual number of diaper changes is more than five a day, that also adds up to more than 4,000 a year. You, too, may be able to claim that you have changed 15,000 diapers in your lifetime. It’s quite possible. So, let’s every one of us add this to our resume today. Better yet, let’s hope our interviewer asks us about it. We’ll be impressive when we pull out our math skills to back up our number.

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Do you know all the things that happen with a diaper change?  

Now that I’ve scared all you soon to be mamas with the prospect of changing thousands of diapers a year, let’s talk about the positive side of diaper changes. Yes, there is a positive side. Despite how gross and tedious it can be, there actually are benefits to it. 

Emotional: One-on-one attention can promote a sense of safety and security. Involvement in stages of diapering can enhance a sense of autonomy. Potty training provides emotional experiences ranging from stubborn refusal to pride.

Social: Individual interactions promote bonding attachment. 

Motor Skills: Instruct your child to “be still” and “lift your legs” as they grow and it will help develop the muscles in their legs and abdomen. Let them pull the velcro off of the diaper themselves and you’re working on fine motor skills. All this before that ultimate muscle control involved with potty training.

Language: Engage in self-talk (describing what you are doing) and you’re increasing your child’s vocabulary. Watch baby’s expressions while conversing during diapering and you’re modeling conversation.

Cognitive: Infants learn cause and effect with their bodily functions. You can also use this time to reinforce names of body parts and clothing. 

I hope you feel quite accomplished by now. You should! Changing 15,000 diapers in your lifetime is no small feat! I also hope you’re feeling important and encouraged. Because even though changing diapers is one of those things in motherhood we may not don’t enjoy, it’s more important than you know. And not just because you need to get your child out of their filth. Ha!

But, seriously, be encouraged mama! You’re doing important work. See all those points above? You’re accomplishing all of that just by changing your child’s diaper and it’s amazing!

Want to find a more exact estimate of that first year’s diapers? Check out the chart in this article.

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